EPSRC CDT news

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In 2013 EPSRC invested around £500 million in 115 Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs), matched by more than £450 million from business, universities and other stakeholders, creating the UK's largest investment in postgraduate training in engineering and physical Sciences.

Collectively the centres have brought together diverse areas of expertise to equip engineers and scientists with the skills, knowledge and confidence to tackle current and future challenges.

The CDTs, spread across over 40 UK universities and training over 7,000 students, ensure advances in research in many areas of fundamental science and engineering, as well as providing future leaders in key areas for the UK economy including energy, data science, manufacturing, materials and healthcare technology.

As part of EPSRC's management of this important investment, we commissioned a mid-term review chaired by Professor Mark Smith, Vice-Chancellor at Lancaster University.

Professor Smith and the rest of the panel were tremendously impressed by the quality of work being undertaken at the CDTs.

Professor Smith said: The panel saw many examples of where CDTs were making a huge contribution to building the next generation of leading researchers for the UK. There was evidence of CDTs often providing novel and added dimensions to the PhD through targeted training elements and cohort building, coupled with the expected international quality research project.

Following the review we are drawing together a best practice guide that will be published later in the year, ahead of the next call for CDTs.

The successful outcomes of this review, demonstrating the strength of the CDT model alongside our other training routes of Doctoral Training Partnerships and Industrial CASE, come ahead of our next call for CDTs in 2018.

We are currently developing this call and considering a number of issues including our approach to priority areas, how to manage what we expect to be a very high demand for centres and how to consider proposals from existing centres alongside new ones. We are working with our advisory streams on priority areas, taking into account the priorities and needs that are already recognised within the research landscape - for example, in our Balancing Capability rationales and the developing Industrial Strategy.

We plan to release the 2018 CDT call when we have completed this planning, at the start of 2018. All applications will need to make a strong case for a national need for investment in a CDT compared with other routes for doctoral funding. We are pleased to publish a selection of case studies to highlight the quality and diversity of impact that CDTs are having and the value that students, universities and industry see in them.

Reference: PN 49-17

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